Jimmy White will face Ryan Day in the last 32 of the UK Championship as the venue stages get under way on Saturday in York.
The Whirlwind emerged from four qualifying rounds at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield earlier this week to reach the Barbican.
Aged 60, he’ll become the oldest player to feature at this stage of a ranking event in almost three decades, and his appearance comes exactly 30 years after his famous UK Championship triumph of 1992.
White will be a huge underdog against Day, who has already sealed glory of his own this term with success in the British Open.
Beating the likes of Stephen Maguire and Dominic Dale in the qualifiers will have provided him with a much-needed boost in confidence.However, producing in the qualifying cubicles and out in the main arena, live of TV and in front of his adoring fans, are entirely different propositions.There was a time when this came as second nature to one of the most naturally gifted snooker players in the history of the game.White first competed in the UK Championship in 1981, and he has since taken part a total of 41 times in what is considered to be the second-most prestigious ranking competition on the calendar.
The Londoner was nearly always present in the early years of the proceedings at the business end.
In his first visit, he made it to the semifinals, and during the next ten years, he only missed the last eight twice.The Nugget ended White’s streak five times throughout the 1980s thanks to Steve Davis, who was a perennial irritant. That includes a thrilling 1987 championship match at Preston’s Guild Hall, where Davis defeated White 16-14. Four years later, White lost a close match to John Parrott and was thus denied the championship in a rematch. But a year later, in 1992, there was finally triumph as White defeated Parrott 16-9 to get revenge on the Liverpudlian. The triumph occurred in the midst of his agonising run of close calls at the Crucible Theatre. When he ultimately fell short of winning the World Snooker Championship.
The UK Championship, however, had a similar long format and status in 1992 to the World Championship, making this win unquestionably the most significant of White’s illustrious career. After that, White struggled in the UK Championship for a number of seasons, but 2003 saw a brief comeback. After years of inconsistent play on the Main Tour. He made it to the final four but was narrowly outplayed by eventual champion Matthew Stevens. Seasoned player who has already qualified for the 2022 main draw.
Earlty 2000s for Jimmy White
The self-assurance he gained from that performance served as the impetus for an extraordinary 2003–04 season, which resulted in his first ranking championship since that 1992 victory in the UK at the Players Championship.
White hasn’t had much success in the tournament since 2003, but on Saturday night he’ll have another chance to turn the clock back.
“I can cause some harm, and it doesn’t matter who I play. Without a doubt, I can win the championship if I bring my A-game,” White told Eurosport.
If I couldn’t win, I wouldn’t participate in the game. I am confident in my ability to triumph. Realistically, you’re not that consistent as you reach my age.
The throng of devoted followers who have supported Jimmy White at the UK Championship for four decades will be rooting for Day, and they will hope that, at the very least, he doesn’t appear foolish. Those devoted followers have been through the mill far too often and will be aware of what to anticipate, but is it impossible to add another chapter to this fairy tale run?
There have been stranger occurrences.